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How A Growth Mindset Can Help Close The Achievement Gap

A Stanford study showed students with a growth mindset outperformed their peers with a fixed one in math and reading, regardless of their income.

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When it comes to students learning tough subjects, the psychology of success can make a big difference. 

The idea of a growth mindset comes down to a central belief: Do you think some people are just good at certain things, like math? Or do you think people can grow and improve their abilities?

Eduardo Briceño is CEO of the company Mindset Works. He said that research backs up that second idea.

“A growth mindset is the understanding that we can change — that we can change our human qualities like kindness or abilities like our ability to play chess or do math, as opposed to a fixed mindset which is a belief that we are fixed in our abilities are human qualities,” Briceño said.

Briceño, who recently presented with the nonprofit Houston A+ Challenge, said that this growth mindset can combat negative biases in society.

He added: “Beliefs that are not true, that women in math and science are not as capable as men or that people of color can achieve it highly as white people. And when when people get into a growth mindset those negative stereotypes become less powerful.”

He said that when those mindsets change in the classroom, it can help shrink the achievement gap between certain students.

For example, a Stanford study showed students with a growth mindset outperformed their peers with a fixed one in math and reading, regardless of their income.

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Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for Houston Public Media, including K-12 and higher education. Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and contributed to South Florida’s NPR affiliate. Her work has also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Reuters and Clarín in Argentina. Laura has won awards for...

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